Thursday, November 15, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 15, 2007

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LAKERS: Coach Phil Jackson said he deserved the reprimand he got from theNBA for making a sexual reference in a comment following the team's loss inSan Antonio. "We call this a 'Brokeback Mountain' game, because there's somuch penetration and kickouts," Jackson said. "It was one of those games."On Wednesday Jackson apologized . .. sort of: "If I've offended any horses,Texans, cowboys or gays, I apologize," Jackson said.


Transsexual, Bar Settle Dispute Over Bathroom
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Scottsdale, Arizona) A human rights complaint against a Scottsdale barfiled after a transsexual was ejected for using the women's bathroom hasbeen resolved.

Michele de LaFreniere (pictured) agreed to drop the complaint after ameeting with Tom Anderson, owner of Anderson's Fifth Estate, ending amonthslong dispute.

Anderson agreed earlier this month to turn one of the bar's bathrooms into aunisex facility. But he refused to allow LaFreniere back into the building,calling her "disruptive".

After a meeting was set up between the two, Anderson now has lifted hisprohibition against LaFreniere. In return she has agreed to drop hercomplaint with the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

The battle over the bathroom began when LaFreniere, who happens be the chairScottsdale's Human Relations Commission, was kicked out of the club forusing the women's washroom. (story)

more . . . . .


Documents Provide Glimpse At Homophobic Church's Money
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Baltimore, Maryland) A federal judge in Baltimore on Wednesday unsealed thefinancial records of Rev. Fred Phelps' Westoboro Baptist Church but thedocuments reveal little about the anti-gay group's source of income.

The Baltimore Sun petitioned the court to unseal the records arguing thatsince they had been given to the jury, that awarded $10.9 million to thefather of a Marine at whose funeral the church had demonstrated, thematerial should be made available to the public.

The lawsuit targeted the church, Phelps and his daughters, ShirleyPhelps-Roper and Rebekah Phelps-Davis.

The Sun reports that the records show the net assets of the church and thethree defendants is nearly $1 million.

The paper found that Phelps listed less than $1,000 in cash and a homevalued at $231,129 which he shares with his wife.

more . . . . .


Local Gay Rights Advance In 3 States
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) LGBT civil rights have taken a step forward in communities inthree states: Ohio, Maryland and Iowa.

Toledo, Ohio has become the first major city in that state to create adomestic partner registry. It will be available to same-sex couples andopposite-sex couples who cannot or chose not to marry.

Couples would have to prove they cohabitate, are financial interdependentand are over the age of 18 to register at city hall.

The registry would offer the same municipal benefits as married coupleshave. Registering would also serve as proof of a relationship for peoplewhose employers offer domestic partner health and insurance plans.

The measure was passed by city council on a 10-2 vote.

more . . . . .


Maple Leaf Rookie's Nude Pictures Show Up On Net
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 14, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Toronto, Ontario) Toronto Maple Leaf forward Jiri Tlusty is saying littleabout pictures of him being kissed from behind by another man and othershots showing the teen hockey star in the nude that found their way onto theInternet.

The pictures were apparently taken while the Czech native was still playingfor the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds last season.

"I used poor judgment in this instance last season and I have learned avaluable lesson,'' Tlusty said in a statement released by the Leafs.

"`It will not happen again and I have no further comment.''

The photographs were posted on the Canadian gossip late last week but have since been removed.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Gays Without Borders

Execution in Iran Halted: IGLHRC Cites Global Protest as Central
November 14, 2007

For Immediate Release
Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC Communications Coordinator,212-430-6016

(New York, Monday October 10, 2007) - The International Gay and LesbianHuman Rights Commission has learned that the Iranian Chief Justice,Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, has nullified the impendingdeath sentence of Mr. Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year old Iranian citizenfound guilty of multiple counts of anal rape (ighab), allegedly committedwhen he was 13 years old. The Iranian Chief Justice described the deathsentence to be in violation of Islamic teachings, the religious decrees ofhigh-ranking Shiite clerics, and the law of the land.

"This is a stunning victory for human rights and a reminder of the powerof global protest," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director,who on November 5 sent a letter in Persian and English asking that Iranianauthorities intervene to halt the execution.

The verdict in Mr. Mouloodzadeh's case was questionable from the outset.Although no one ever accused him of rape, the court declared otherwise.All parties involved in the case told the court that their statementsduring the investigation were either untruthful or coerced. Theinvestigation was also riddled with procedural irregularities.

Recognizing that the death sentence in this case violated bothinternational law and the Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran,IGLHRC took action. In addition to writing letters to the Iranianauthorities, IGLHRC issued an action alert on November 5, 2007, whichprompted other human rights advocates to similarly object. Activists fromaround the world responded by sending over 100 emails demanding animmediate halt to Makvan's execution. Other human rights organizations,including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Iranian QueerOrganization issued action alerts of their own.

"It is absolutely imperative that we halt the deplorable use of the deathpenalty to force social conformity," said Ettelbrick. "We hope thatMakvan's case and the profound rejection of the death penalty by theIranian Chief Justice sets the course for the future in Iran."

After a designated group of judges from the Chief Justice's officeformally nullifies the court's decision, the case will be sent to a localcourt for retrial.

You can read IGLHRC's action alert on our website:

Our Letter to the Iranian authorities is also posted on our websitein both English and Persian:


From Peter Tatchell - UK

For two weeks, prior to issuing today's news release, I have been working ontrying to mobilise a defence campaign in the UK to try to save Makwan fromexecution in Iran.

Lots of people sympathise privately and agree that we should campaignagainst Makwan's death sentence. But hardly anyone wants to get involvedpublicly - not even those who supported the protests against the July 2005Mashhad hangings.

People are now too afraid of being denounced as a neo-con, racist, culturalimperialist, warmonger etc. - and are fearful of being accused ofexaggerating, defending rapists, imputing false gay identities to thevictims, pushing anti-Iran propaganda and so on.

They have seen the way Doug Ireland and I have been savaged and don't wantto suffer the same fate.

People here who once supported LGBTs in Iran now want to steer clear.

This is very sad for Iranian LGBTs.

Solidarity! Peter

Iran to hang man for sodomy

Despite witnesses withdrawing their allegations

"Confession" secured after ill-treatment in prison

Amnesty International calls for URGENT ACTION


Speak Out About the U.S. HIV Travel Ban

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is consideringamending existing regulations that prohibit the entry of HIV-positive peopleinto the United States. Current U.S. immigration law bars HIV-positiveimmigrants, tourists, foreign students and business people from entering thecountry. The proposed amendment, initiated by President Bush on World AIDSDay 2006, would allow HIV-positive visitors to enter the country onshort-term business or tourist visas, allowing HIV-positive people to cometo the U.S. for short-term, nonimmigrant stays.

Though the odious and inhuman travel ban would still be in place, theamendment would allow HIV-positive people to enter the country without beingsubject to the complex, case-by-case process currently needed for an entrywaiver. Visitors would be expected to comply with conditions andrequirements to "minimize.the risk to public health." These conditions couldinclude, for example, having to take antiretroviral medications if medicallyappropriate and "avoiding behavior" that could transmit infection.

The DHS invites comments, recommendations, views and arguments from thepublic surrounding the proposed amendment. Comments must be received beforeDecember 6, 2007. You can submit comments online at, or by mail sent to: Border Security RegulationsBranch, Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. (MintAnnex), Washington, DC 20229.


No double standard: Task Force calls on Senate Ethics Committee to treatVitter and Craig cases fairly

"There is no explanation for the diametrically opposed responses to thesetwo situations, other than hypocrisy tinged by homophobia. There are onlytwo ways to resolve this: drop the investigation into Sen. Craig orinvestigate the allegations surrounding Sen. Vitter."- From the Task Force's Nov. 13 letter to the Senate Ethics Committee

Yesterday, the Task Force called upon the Senate Ethics Committee for fairtreatment in the sex-related controversies involving Sens. Larry Craig andDavid Vitter. The committee has launched an investigation into Craig'sconduct, arising from his pleading guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conductcharges after his June arrest by an undercover police officer in a men'srestroom. The committee has refused to open a similar investigation intowhether Vitter violated the Senate Rules of Conduct by soliciting forprostitution.

Read the full letter


SAGE and Task Force awarded $500,000 grant for LGBT aging advocacy

"This project will combine the Task Force's federal policy and researchexpertise, SAGE's unparalleled understanding of the needs of LGBT elders,and the energy of activists across the nation to shape a better future forall our seniors."

- Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and the Task Force announcedthis week they have received a $500,000 grant from the Arcus Gay and LesbianFund to support a joint two-year national advocacy and policy effort aroundLGBT aging. For this new project, SAGE and the Task Force will collaborateon a series of ventures that push public policies that address LGBT agingconcerns and enhance support, protections and quality of life for LGBTseniors.

[ Read the press release


The 20th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change - Early birdregistration extended to Nov. 30

The Task Force announces an impressive lineup of keynote speakers at itsannual National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, to be held atthe Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, Mich.,Feb. 6-10, 2008. Registration for the 20th National Conference on LGBTEquality: Creating Change is now open and can be done online The early bird registration rate of $250 has beenextended to Nov. 30.

Julian Bond (pictured), chairman of the NAACP and an outspoken proponent ofequality for all, addresses the conference on Feb. 7, and the Right ReverendV. Eugene Robinson, Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, will share his uniqueperspective on faith, equality and social change with Creating Changeattendees on Feb. 9. Internationally known comic and social commentator KateClinton will serve as the mistress of ceremonies. The conference will alsofeature the new Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action and 18 daylonginstitutes focused on a variety of topics. Don't miss out!

Read the full press release
Get details and register now


Inside Higher Education

When 'Not Gay' is 'Not OK'
We come from old Virginia,
Where all is bright and gay.

After a Cavalier touchdown, the marching band strikes up what, to anoutsider, sounds like "Auld Lang Syne." But, to its tune, students andalumni sing the "Good Old Song," its lyrics written by Edward A. Craighillin 1895, its mention of all being "bright and gay" a throwback to when "gay"meant "happy," the line a launching pad for what's since become a universitytradition of negating the word "gay" with gleeful (often drunken) shouts of"not gay!"

At the University of Virginia, steeped as it is in tradition, a student-ledcampaign this semester has applied peer pressure to encourage students torethink the ritual. "Essentially," said Stephen Leonelli, president of theQueer and Allied Activism group at Virginia, "we believe that itmarginalizes the gay community by creating an environment in which certainpeople who may or may not identify as gay do not feel welcome."

The campaign has sparked a fury of letters and opinion pieces in the studentnewspaper, The Cavalier Daily, with the latest opinion piece, on Wednesday,defending the "not gay" chant and criticizing a culture of politicalcorrectness and liberal groupthink. "I'm just expressing my religiouslyinformed political views that it's wrong to act homosexual," Alex Cortes, afirst-year student and the writer of "Not gay and proud of it," said in aninterview Wednesday.

But while Cortes described his participation in the "not gay" chant asideologically driven, those behind the campaign believe the bulk of thosechanting are following the crowd. This isn't the first time the cheer hassparked controversy: An earlier campaign six years ago to challenge thechant had been quite successful at stemming the shouts, at least fromstudents, said Lauren Tilton, the president of the Student Council. Butinstitutional memories at colleges are short - at least on the studentlevel - and, "We noticed that at one of the games that we thought the chantwas starting to come back a bit. So we decided to basically do somethingbefore it got much louder," Tilton said.

"It is student self-governance in action," said Carol Wood, a Virginiaspokeswoman, adding that while the administration has not been involved inthe issue, the students spearheading the campaign have its full support."With student self-governance it's really great to see the students takingthis action themselves."



Immediate Action Needed to Preserve Ryan White Funding Increases


The FY 2008 Labor-HHS spending bill passed by both the House and Senate lastweek contained funding increases for the Ryan White Program, including PartA, Part B, and Part C. This is the first time in the last five years thatCongress has acted to give key components of the Ryan White Programmeaningful gains. Unfortunately, the president vetoed the bill yesterday.The House is expected to schedule a vote to override the President's veto oneither Thursday or Friday of this week.

Why This Is So Important

All of the work CAEAR Coalition and other groups have put into securing RyanWhite Program funding increases will be for nought if the override vote isnot successful. We must do everything we can to preserve these fundingincreases.

What You Need to Do

Call your House member and urge them to vote to override the president'sveto. Attached is a list prepared by the Coalition for Health Funding ofRepublican House members who they believe can be swayed to vote yes. If yourmember is on this list, it is especially important that you contact theiroffice and urge them to vote to override the president's veto. We also askthat you forward this alert to colleagues, friends, and family members whoare represented by a Member on this list so they can make calls as well. Ifyour member previously voted in favor of the conference bill, please thankthem for their support and ask them to continue to support the Ryan WhiteProgram by voting to override the veto. To find out how your Memberpreviously voted on this issue visit

To reach a House member, call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121


To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Information, news, and discussion about the legal recognition of same-sexcouples and their families, including marriages, domestic partnerships,civil unions, adoptions, foster children and similar issues.

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:

The Family Equality Council (formerly the Family Pride Coalition) haslaunched an Adopt A Rainbow Action for November. Each rainbow you "adopt" isa pledge to volunteer one hour of time to a local/national fostering oradoption agency, tell one friend about the foster care system crisis, ordonate $10 to a related charity. Their goal is 1,140 rainbows (as the numberof children currently available for adoption in the U.S. is 114,000). Formore information, visit the Family Equality site. HRC is inviting members ofthe LGBT community who have adopted a child or children from foster care toshare your stories. They will select "a diverse group of family profilesfrom across the U.S." to feature on their Web site during National AdoptionDay, November 17.

The road to civil rights equality is a long and bumpy one. The map showingus how to get there is torn and difficult to read. But this doesn't mean weshould cut the trip short and go back. In fact, it's more important thanever to keep moving forward, especially as regards family equality. Way backin the early 1990s, Hawaii was poised to become a global leader for familyequality. Then, ignorance, fear and lies overcame the simple truth that allfamilies deserve to be treated equally under the law. Civil rights equalitywas shamefully placed on the ballot as a Constitutional amendment relatingto same-sex marriage. The amendment, very shortly worded, does not actuallyprohibit same-sex marriage, rather it provides the legislature with thepower to define marriage. Under this amendment, the legislature may, but isnot required to, define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. And,while for the forseeable future, the legislature is unlikely to repeal thislaw, though they have the legal right to do so, there is growing momentumthat Hawaii should now take a big step towards family equality by passingcomprehensive civil unions legislation. Civil unions have been recognized asa reasonable compromise measure that provides protection for families, whileretaining a traditional definition for marriage. It could hardly beconsidered equal to marriage, because it is unrecognized at the Federallevel, and unequal to all those who are married or could become married.

Earlier this week, we showed you a piece posted on Focus on the Family'swebsite, wherein an anti-gay activist was glowingly speaking about all ofthe wonderful benefits of marriage. And considering that both Focus on theFamily and the Family Research Council (the organization with whom theactivist was affiliated) work day and night to keep gays from entering intothe custom, we found it absolutely galling that they'd brag about all of thewonderful health and wealth benefits stemming from the unions that they'redenying to the homo set. In fact, it came across as quite cruel. Well today,Focus has upped the brazen and stone-hearted marriage ante by posting thefollowing rhapsodic portrait of nuptial stability on their CitizenLink site:Marriage Brings Stability, Economic Well-Being Heritage Foundation researchshows benefits of traditional families.


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